McGraw’s Maxims

4 Dec

While the New York Giants were training in Marlin Springs, Texas before the 1912 season, John McGraw wrote (his name appeared on the byline) an article published in newspapers across the country about what it took “to become a big league ballplayer.”

John McGraw, 1912

John McGraw, 1912

McGraw wrote:

“If you have speed in your legs, in your arms, if you are physically strong, know human nature, don’t use tobacco, you’ll make a ballplayer.”

Included in the article were “McGraw’s Maxims:”

Forget what you know and learn over

Don’t drink

Eat two meals a day

Don’t drink water on the field

The less training in winter the better

Indoor training doesn’t help

A steady player is better than a grandstand player

A country boy is better material than a college boy, because he doesn’t think he knows it all.

Reminiscent, if less colorful, than Satchel Paige’s “How to Keep Young,” written forty years later, (this has been reprinted everywhere for years, but any excuse to mention Satchel Paige…)

Satchel Paige, 1942

Satchel Paige, 1942

Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.

If you stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.

Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.

Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society. The social ramble ain’t restful.

Avoid running at all times.

Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.

21 Responses to “McGraw’s Maxims”


  1. “Bugs” and Trains « Baseball History Daily - December 28, 2012

    […] John McGraw, the only manager who even for a short time, managed to get the best out Raymond, told sportswriter Grantland Rice that he had the best motion he’d ever seen and “Even half sober Raymond would have been one of the greatest.” […]

  2. “Big, Good-Hearted and Foolish” « Baseball History Daily - January 9, 2013

    […] immediately there was trouble for manager John McGraw after the New York Giants acquired Larry McLean from the Saint Louis Cardinals, August 6, 1913—it […]

  3. Henry Fabian « Baseball History Daily - January 21, 2013

    […] 1891 when he played for the Cedar Rapids Canaries in the Illinois-Iowa League where he played with John McGraw, who became one of his closest […]

  4. Kauff and Perritt « Baseball History Daily - January 29, 2013

    […] came to the Giants by way of the Federal League, and with the help of “Sinister Dick” Kinsella, John McGraw’s right hand […]

  5. “A Heart-Breaking Play, Engineered by Wagner” | Baseball History Daily - March 29, 2013

    […] baseman Billy Gilbert.  The Giants were behind 7-6 with runners on first and second; manager John McGraw was about to send Sammy Strang to pinch hit for Mathewson, when, according to The New York […]

  6. “Figures of your kind are Pathetic” | Baseball History Daily - August 13, 2013

    […] John McGraw made news for an “innovation” in 1909.  The Associated Press said: […]

  7. “A Great deal of foolish Sympathy was wasted on Rusie” | Baseball History Daily - September 3, 2013

    […] didn’t sign a contract that spring, and two other rumors; that John McGraw had sent him a letter inviting him to spring training with the Giants and that he would return to […]

  8. “A Great deal of foolish Sympathy was wasted on Rusie” | Baseball History Daily - September 5, 2013

    […] didn’t sign a contract that spring; and two other rumors that John McGraw had sent him a letter inviting him to spring training with the Giants and that he would return to […]

  9. Burns “Put the Punishment on Phyle” | Baseball History Daily - November 20, 2013

    […] was suspended Phelon reported that the Baltimore Orioles had offered to trade for or buy Phyle,” (John) McGraw has taken quite a fancy to the young pitcher.”  Hart refused to make a […]

  10. Lost Advertisements–”Kid” Gleason for Cat’s Paw Rubber Heels | Baseball History Daily - November 22, 2013

    […] of other leading managers and ball players in both leagues–Patrick J. Moran, Walter Johnson, John J. McGraw, Edward G. Barrow, James Burke, Miller Huggins, W.R. Johnston, Wilbert Robinson, Walter J. […]

  11. Bugs Versus Rube | Baseball History Daily - June 9, 2014

    […] and ‘Bugs’ are good players.  Raymond almost drove (John) McGraw to despair last season, for the chubby manager realized what an excellent pitcher ‘Bugs’ really […]

  12. “I Remember Well the First Day Latham Coached” | Baseball History Daily - June 11, 2014

    […] Man on Earth” is generally credited as the first full-time third base coach.  Even before John McGraw hired him to coach third for the New York Giants in 1909, Latham’s antics as a “coacher” were […]

  13. “What Right has Hanlon to Show me How to Hit?” | Baseball History Daily - June 23, 2014

    […] said John McGraw who “For nine years…had a batting average of .330” (actually .346 from 1893 to 1901) was […]

  14. “This Fellow has about as much Judgment of Balls and Strikes as a Six-year-old Kid” | Baseball History Daily - September 10, 2014

    […] baiting was an art form for managers like John McGraw.  In 1906 Tim Murnane wrote in The Boston Globe about the way McGraw, and his players, intimidated […]

  15. Things I Learned on the Way to Looking up other Things #11 | Baseball History Daily - September 22, 2014

    […] for John McGraw, Floto allowed that the Giants’ manager was “Pretty wise,” but attributed his success to the […]

  16. “The Best First Sacker in the Game” | Baseball History Daily - November 27, 2014

    […] (John) McGraw was manager of the Baltimore team he endeavored to get Wilson into the major league by claiming the […]

  17. McGraw’s “Rubber” | Baseball History Daily - January 2, 2015

    […] John McGraw inherited Guerrero when he came to New York in 1902, and swore by his “Rubber.” […]

  18. “Boys of ’76” | Baseball History Daily - January 5, 2015

    […] of dignitaries were on hand, including, John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, John Montgomery Ward, and Governor John […]

  19. Jennings “Hurled an Unmentionable Epithet at him” | Baseball History Daily - February 2, 2015

    […] Baltimore Sun noted that it had been a tough spring for the Orioles.  Third baseman John McGraw “the brainiest and pluckiest little infielder that ever trod a diamond,” was in an Atlanta […]

  20. Lost Advertisements–Larry McLean for Sweet Caporal | Baseball History Daily - September 25, 2015

    […] in New York and ended his major league career the following season when he fought with Manager John McGraw, and McGraw’s right-hand man, “Sinister Dick” Kinsella in the lobby of […]

  21. “You can try to Refine and Civilize Baseball all you want” | Baseball History Daily - December 8, 2015

    […] “’You’re a cheap crook,’ said John McGraw. […]

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